'Cowardly' speedboat killer Jack Shepherd jailed for extra six months after fleeing UK

Speedboat killer Jack Shepherd has been sentenced to an additional six months in jail for skipping bail after saying he was “trying to make amends” by returning to the UK.

The 31-year-old pleaded guilty on Thursday morning at the Old Bailey to breaching bail and absconding for 10 months in the middle of his trial for the manslaughter of his date Charlotte Brown.

Her father, Graham Brown, said the family felt “a sense of relief” after the sentencing but believed Shepherd still had “shown no remorse and he hasn’t taken any responsibility” over the actions that led to the death of his daughter

Jack Shepherd on the flight from Tbilisi to London being questioned by reporters. (Sky News)
The family of Charlotte Brown, (left to right) mother Roz Wickens, sisters Vicky and Katie Brown and father Graham Brown, speaking outside the Old Bailey, after Shepherd was sentenced to an additional six months for skipping bail. (PA)

Ms Brown’s sister, Katie,  said outside the court while fighting back tears her family were relieved Shepherd was starting his sentence, describing it as a “step closer to justice for Charlie.”

She said: “Shepherd has continued to prolong our agony, making wild accusations against our family.

“His lack of respect and decency continues to astound us.”

Shepherd left Tbilisi in cuffs after being successfully extradited from Georgia. (Reuters)

Shepherd told reporters who spoke to him on his flight from Georgia to Britain that he acted on “emotion and fear” when he fled the UK during the middle of his manslaughter trial and said he has “come to terms with the fact I’ll be going to prison in the UK.”

A jury found Shepherd guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence for causing the death of Ms Brown, 24, who died during a late-night speedboat ride down the River Thames in December 2015.

Asked on the flight why he did not stay to defend himself in court, he said: “I wasn’t thinking at the time, I was acting on emotion and fear and I made a mistake.

Shepherd was found guilty of Ms Brown’s manslaughter and sentenced to six years in prison in absence. (PA)

“But now I’m trying to make amends.”

Shepherd added that he regretted not speaking to Ms Brown’s family sooner, calling it his “second biggest mistake” after taking out the boat that night.

He accused the media of misreporting events saying: “There really has been a lot of untruths and lies. In prison I received death threats, my family received threats even my lawyer’s home and office are still under protection.”

Shepherd spent several months in prison in Georgia. (Reuters)

He added: “There have been some complete untruths. In particular this idea I let her drown and did nothing to help her.”

He landed at Gatwick airport accompanied by two British officials on Wednesday evening and was arrested on arrival.

Angela Deal, head of extradition at the CPS said: “Jack Shepherd has returned to the UK to face justice following close co-operation between the CPS extradition unit, UK colleagues and the Georgian authorities, to ensure a successful extradition.

Shepherd’s boat was found to have multiple defects after it was pulled from the water. (PA)

“He will first appear at the Old Bailey to be sentenced for the gross negligence manslaughter conviction in connection with the death of Charlotte Brown, and then at a later date in the South West over the grievous bodily harm charge.”

Home Secretary Sajid Javid thanked the Georgian authorities for their assistance on Twitter, adding: “Charlotte Brown’s family have endured immeasurable pain & are now one step closer to getting the justice they deserve.”

During the web designer’s trial, the jury was told Shepherd had been drinking champagne on a first date with Ms Brown when they went on the speedboat ride.

His 14ft Fletcher Arrowflyte boat had a series of defects and was speeding when it overturned near Wandsworth Bridge, throwing Ms Brown to her death in the water.

Shepherd, originally from Exeter, was plucked from the cold river.